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UAH: The future and hope of young progressives from Lagos

Lagos State is popularly referred to as the Center of Excellence in Nigeria. This is not far from truth. The erstwhile capital of the country is unarguably the heartbeat of the nation's economy. Lagos is forever viable, metropolitan and successful not just because of its coastal assets and its huge population, but its diversity and rainbow demographics are its greatest allures.

Talking about Nigerian Politics, Lagos State takes not just a passing position but eminently leads while other states follow. No politician in the country can joke with the voting strength of the state. After it comes Kano and Rivers States, that also play determinant factors of the country's politics.

The Nigeria president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, after his tenure as Lagos State governor in 2007 has been rallying point for politicians across the country. Asiwaju's influence in Nigerian politics is enormous. His leadership style and investment in Human capital development put him ahead of others.

Many young politicians in the progressive fold who are aspiring to occupy pole positions in the nearest future have taken the president-elect as their role model and mentor. Some have already established themselves and stamped their authority on both state and national politics by occupying different political offices by appointment or election. These plethora of young progressive politicians flaunt their 'certificate' to mark them as graduates of Asiwaju school of thought.

Everybody has agreed that good and useful as Asiwaju School of Thought is, its pioneer - Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu - is ageing and cannot lead forever. Everybody also agrees that a new, young, pragmatic and resolute leader has to emerge from the plethora of young politicians to guide and guard the ship while it sails. What no one has agreed on is who should step into the Asiwaju's shoe. 

In this piece, our focus is on Hon. Usman Akanbi Hamzat popularly known as UAH. Hamzat is the Chairman of Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area of Lagos State. Born in the late 1970s in Mushin to the family of late Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat. UAH is a Certified Local Government Administrator and a Fellow of the Chattered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration of Nigeria (FCPA) whose activities have reinvigorate the lost glory of the local government area lately.

Hon. Hamzat, according to one of his close friends in Ogun State politics, Hon. Akeem Oluseye, is a  vibrant, energetic and quintessential leader of his generation. His passion for humanity is exceptional. His brilliance as a public Administrator and loyal party man earned him the role of Assistant Director, Ethnic Directorate, Lagos APC Presidential Campaign Council.

During the last presidential campaign, Hon. Hamzat's activities in Ifako-Ijaye was tremendous, contributing to the victory of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the LGA. It is not by accident that APC scored 30,756 to lead Labour Party that came second in the local government area with over 5,000 votes but by sheer love and respect the people have for both Asiwaju and Hon. Hamzat.

The efforts put into the victory of the party at the local government by Hon. Hamzat is unprecedented. He personally led other party members on a door-to- door campaign, time to time strategic engagement/training amid other sensitisation programmes. Throughout the presidential campaign, he engaged critical stakeholders and party hierarchy within the local government on electoral victory for the party.

Hon. Hamzat has penchance for multi-tasking. He seamlessly combined both Asiwaju's campaign with clamouring for Governor Babajide Sanwoolu's second term bid as Lagos State governor. The workaholic Chairman did not rest on his oars and did his best for making sure the party came out victorious at the governorship election on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

Prince Usman Hamzat's achievements so far as the Executive Chairman of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government include series of empowerment programmes for market women that include business management training for 500 market women, financial literacy programme for 300 market women, cash empowerment of N50,000 for 250 market women, and trade credit for market women. In the area of skills acquisition, several trainings have been executed to empower women and youths with skills they can use to start their own businesses. Some of these trainings include a two-week skills acquisition training on catering, home essentials, stoning and beading; and a two-week fish rearing training. Participants of these trainings were all empowered with tools and equipments to help them kick-start their trades. All these were done from the purview of hoisting Asiwaju's philosophy.

Prince Hamzat's administration has been big on sports because he believes that sports is a potent tool to empower the teeming youths. There is the Fkj games portal where budding athletes can register and be discovered by scouts; the UAH Inter-ward Football Competition; the Ifako-Ijaiye Boxing competition; and the recently held UAH Male and Female Table Tennis Competition.

To show appreciation for his meritorious service to humanity, the Chairman has bagged different awards from various organizations and bodies.

Some of the awards include: Outstanding Youth Ambassador of the Year by Classical Africa Merit Awards (CAMA2021), Awards of Recognition by Lagos State Association of Council Vice Chairman, 1st Best Crop Farmer Award in Lagos State for the year 2021 World Food Day Celebration by the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture; and Senior Advocate of the Masses (SAM) by the Law Students' Association (LAWSA) of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Lagos Chapter among others.

There's no gainsaying that with individuals like Hamzat in the progressive family, the future of Lagos State is in a safe hand and the dream of the founding fathers will not be in jeopardy.

We shall keep our tabs on Hon. Hamzat as he progresses but should Asiwaju School of Thought need young progressive to take over, we strongly recommend UAH.

Written by Yusuf Oketola, an Osun State based Journalist.

Edited by Olatoye Jibola, a political researcher based in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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